Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: August 28, 2012 2:33 pm

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Let’s finish off last week’s tutorial with part 2. If you missed it click here to see part one.

We’re going to add two buttons either side and some text in the middle. The main part of understanding in this is adding layer styles, they may seem complex but the best way to learn is by playing around with them yourself.

Final

1) Open up the psd we were working on from last week. Add create a new layer. Grab the ellipsis tool and draw a circle that fits in the bottom part of the radio like the below. Fill it with colour: #707070.

First step

2) Now add the following layer styles.

Styles1

3) Duplicate the layer, reduce the fill and add the following styles:

Styles 2

Styles 3

Styles 4

Styles 5

Styles 6

4) After adding all the styles you should now have something like the below:

Second step

5) Duplicate the layer and move it slightly up then move it to the other side.

6) Add in the text “Volume” and “Tuning” underneath the controls. Also I’ve added a vague floral pattern to the face plate. I added it as white and took the opacity down to 30% so it was only just visible. Finally I added in the some text in a nice script in the middle and that’s it! Here’s the complete version below – good luck!

Final

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: August 21, 2012 12:41 pm

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This week let’s create an fm tuner in photoshop from scratch. This tutorial shouldn’t take more than an hour and is probably aimed at the intermediate user. I’ll be using brushes, shapes and blends so if you need practice in any of these read on!

step four

1) Start by opening a new document in photoshop. I chose the size 1000 x 379 px. I filled it with a nice black background that sort of resembles a car dashboard from subtlepatterns.com.

2) Next draw a rectangle inside this leaving around 50px padding between the canvas and the rectangle all the way round. Fill it with a nice pattern, mine came from subtlepatterns.com again. Next add a #181818 stroke of 8px. Next draw a rectangle a little bit higher than half the height of the main rectangle and fill with #6f6f6f.

step-one

3) Next control click on the mask for the smaller rectangle and add a new layer. Choose a soft brush and create a shadow around the edge of the rectangle to give it some depth.

4) Lets add a white stroke to the bottom of the tuner to give it even more depth. Duplicate the rectangle then lower the fill to 0%. First add a stroke of 3px inside and color #ffffff and then rasterize the layer so we can delete some of the line. Grab the eraser and drop the opacity to about 30-40% making sure the hardness is 0% proceed to erase the whole of the top line and fade the side lines. Lower the opacity to about 50%. After that you’re done with the background for the moment so group it up and lets move on.

step two

5) Next let’s create the lines for the tuner. Add 3 2px lines of the same length and same spacing on the right of the tuner. Then add a rectangle of 80px high at the bottom spanning the whole width of the tuner, this is going to be used in the next part of the tutorial for the knobs.. Make the smaller lines #898989 and the rectangle. Add in all the numbers and “FM Stereo”, I used Helvetica Neue, try a nice sans-serif font to gain the same style

step three

6) Lets then create the red button on the left of the tuner. Create a new layer and using the ellipsis tool draw a small circle. Fill it with red and the give it a stroke of 5px # 7d7d7d outside. Next add bevel and emboss. Choose Inner Bevel, smooth, depth 1000%, direction down, size 6px, soften 5px, angle -90 degress. Highlight opacity 87% and shadow opacity 15%. Add a grainy pattern overlay and reduce the opacity to make it slightly duller.

7) Create a 2px blue line to use for the tune location and place it somewhere nice and balanced.

step four

8 ) Let’s give some gloss to the face of the tuner and then we’re done on that part. Using the pen tool draw a curvy line to opposite corners of the tuner. Make the selection and then using a soft white brush colour the selection from the center. This will give the illusion of a reflection.

step four

9) Save it and then come back next week to see part two where we’ll be adding the knobs to the bottom of the tuner.

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: August 7, 2012 3:18 pm

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First open up you image in Photoshop. I’ve chosen the below image and I’m going to focus on changing the colors in the tie and shirt.

first

Once the picture is open pick the select tool that favours it the best. I’ve chosen the Polygonal Lasso Tool as it’s going to be the quickest and easiest in my opinion. Here’s the selection below.

second

Next create a new layer in the layers panel. Open up the adjustments panel if you haven’t already and click on Hue/Saturation. Once clicked on the selection will be immediately turned into a layer and ready to work on.

To change the colors move the hue slider first to change the colours. The great thing about it is the two colors in the tie will keep their color balance and the image should keep it’s balance. The further you move the slider the further along the color spectrum you go so you may need to either increase or decrease the saturation underneath. Play around till you get the colors you were looking for. Here’s what I came up with below.

third

You can always revert back to the original image by deleting or hiding the layer.

In this one I’ve changed the color of his shirt too. By using the color selection tool and raising the fuzziness I managed to select most of the blue before adding the hue.

forth

 

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: July 31, 2012 3:25 pm

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Photoshop is a program that can take a lifetime to learn. You’ll be doing one way for years and then may discover there’s actually a quicker way or more cleaner way do it. I’m going to go through a few keyboard shortcuts and some ways I like to work in such a great program.

The color range tool

So we all know the different types of selection tools:

  • Marquee
  • Lasso
  • Polygonal Lasso
  • Magnetic Lasso
  • Quick Selection and magic wand
  • Pen tool

You might not have heard of the Color range tool but it’s a good one to know in the right situation. Find it on the menu ‘Select’. Block colours that are scattered around an image can be quickly selected with the click of the button – rather than having to go around the image and click on each instance of the colour.

 

Some useful Photoshop Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

 

  • Transform: Ctrl + T
  • Hue/Saturation: Ctrl + U
  • New layer: Ctrl + Shift + N
  • Duplicate Layer: Ctrl  + J
  • Save: Ctrl + S
  • Copy all layers in a selection: Ctrl + Shift + A
  • Preferences: Ctrl + K
  • Change Document: Ctrl + Tab
  • Fill layer with background colour: Alt + Del

Posted by: Ben Austin

Posted on: July 2, 2012 1:41 pm

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Those of you who keep a close eye on Google’s constant updates will already know that the search giant recently rolled out new algorithm changes that specifically focus on identifying what lies above the fold on your website, ie on the upper section of the page. We’ve put together a list of factors you need to bear in mind when optimising your site in accordance with this latest development to ensure you’re aware of the new requirements and are not inadvertently damaging your site’s SEO efforts.

Keep above the fold ads to a minimum. Though placing advertisements in prominent positions makes good marketing sense, placing too many block ads high up on the page instead of text makes it difficult for your potential customers to find the information they’re looking for. Google’s algorithm understands this and may penalise your site for its over-salesy approach.

Place this content in a prominent position. Do away with row upon row of ads and images and place as much text as possible above the fold. You may not want to add in a large piece of copy but be sure to introduce your readers to the concept of your business and what you can offer them in terms of products or services.

Write quality content. Putting together some interesting text for your page ticks so many boxes in Google’s eyes. Not only will your text to HTML ratio improve and your site will be re-indexed favourably, you’ll also effectively grab the attention of the human reader and encourage a warmer reception to your site and your business.

De-clutter your design. Make good use of white space and review your page’s design to reflect a cleaner, simpler look where possible.

Concentrate on improving the user experience. Matt Cutts, the renowned author of Google’s Webmaster Central blog, is famous for reiterating that site owners need to focus on delivering a great experience for the user if they are to consistently rank highly. In many cases, good SEO comes down to common sense – taking into consideration the needs and demands of your target audience and ew-designing your page to reflect these should ensure you achieve better rankings.

If you need to make any design adjustments after reading this tutorial, bear in mind that it may take Google’s search engine spiders several weeks to crawl through your updated page and assess your ranking positions to reflect your changes.

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: June 26, 2012 10:42 am

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Vintage effects on photos can give a photo a total different look and bring out something else. Try completing these steps and then maybe adding it as an action in your photoshop. Then you can try it on multiple photos to see what it comes out like.

  • Create a duplicate of the image, this is so you can refer back to it at any time if you need to.
  • Create a new layer and add a gradient fill to it. Choose black to white with blend mode “Soft Light.” Make the style Radial and the angle 120 degrees. Make sure the scale is 125%.
  • Next create a new layer and add a gradient map, this is done using the adjustments panel. Choose black to white.
  • Finally add a curves adjustment like the one below, you should be left with the right result. You can always change the curves slightly to change the desired effect.

Adjustment curves

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: June 13, 2012 8:14 am

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  1. Open up photoshop. The latest edition is CS6 but most of the points in this tutorial will work back to CS4. When picking your document size I usually design in 960px width, so I’ll usually create it at 960 setup guides for the edges of the page and then add extra padding to either side, maybe an extra 100px each side.
  2. Set up your guides if you haven’t already. There’s an action I like that creates a 960 grid in multiples of 12, 16 and 24. You can find it here. It does help speed up the whole process.
  3. Now you’ve got your canvas, you’re ready to start designing. Hopefully you’ve got some idea of what you or the client wants. It’s a good to have content, branding, images and a spec before you start. I usually sketch out a wireframe of the site I’m going to design first and refer back to it while I’m working in photoshop. Pencil and paper is much faster for jotting down new ideas and designs so it’s good to have one to hand.
  4. I’ve got into the habit of picking my fonts first and I think it’s good to be in that habit. As you’re designing for the web you need to make sure you’re using web safe fonts, check my article here. There’s some great alternatives to Arial and Georgia so don’t feel like you’re stuck with these.
  5. Next I’ll probably pick my colour pallete. My favourite place for this is kuler. Its simply brilliant for colour matching. If you’ve got a colour already then kuler will match it or if you’re looking for a new colour pallete then there’s literally thousands to choose from.

Posted by: SEO Positive

Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:51 am

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Many users may have realised YouTube’s new layout that is a little odd when compared to the previous. There were no problems with YouTube previous to the update. However YouTube now looks to put a huge focus on channels and also the social media side of videos.

One of the first things you may notice on YouTube’s new web design is the dark bar on the left hand side. Upon looking at this section, you can see that Google Plus and Facebook are pushed upon the user, but there is also the option to add other accounts such as Twitter and MySpace. When social media accounts are added, you can click on the social media icon and you will then be shown all videos on YouTube which have been shared by your peers and so on.

Secondly, there are categories in the bar such as: popular, trending and music. No doubt that YouTube takes location into consideration; however this is quite a good feature as YouTubers can find videos that are growing in popularity with ease.

Finally, there is a suggestions box, potentially stolen from Twitter? Although it is a good feature that is emphasised in the new design. I believe there was a suggestions section in the previous layout but in comparison this is now stressed to the user quite heavily.

From what I can gather, the new layout is a way for YouTube to push channels and for those on YouTube to actually subscribe to people instead of checking back every now and then. On top of that, I think this is also a way to push Google Plus. YouTube is owned by Google and there is no question that it is being used to help get some publicity for Google +. It has taken Google a while to advertise their social network on this scale because their biggest effort in the past was to add a huge arrow pointing from their home page to the link that sends a user to Google Plus.

There are now also promoted videos, this is nothing new, but what is new is that promoted videos are moving to Google Adwords, this may bring a new market into the industry of SEO and PPC because they would be managed very similarly to a text ad for Google.

Conclusion

Google have used YouTube well to promote their network subtly, however overall it does look more complicated than the previous version but YouTubers will just have to get used to it  as there are no other services which are quite as good.

Posted by: Shofiur Rahman

Posted on: November 29, 2011 11:04 am

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flash player We all know how amazing flash is, it is possibly the nicest looking type of website out there. However there are a few problems with having flash on your site. The first is that it is invisible to Google, the second is that they can take a long time to load and finally they cannot be used on mobiles.

Google has released a tool called Swiffy, which may be because it requires a SWF file to convert. Swiffy takes the SWF file you have uploaded and then the tool converts the file. It shows you the coding and the flash file next to each other so you can compare the two.

At the bottom of the page there is a link which sends you to your uploaded flash file in HTML, all you then have to do is view the source code and copy the script, your code is now ready to upload to any site you want.

I have already tested the HTML 5 conversions on a mobile device (iPhone 3 GS) and they do work, even the games that Google provide, I have also uploaded my own flash files. Flash games do work when converted but the more complex the game is, then the laggier the html version is for mobile devices. This may not be the case for phones such as the iPhone 4s, but unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to test this. Converted flash animations are quite fast and are only a little slower than what is displayed on a PC.

All in all, Swiffy is going to be of great use to all web design and animators, now their work will be easily displayed on not only computers but also mobile devices. It is only a matter of time before Swiffy becomes more popular and all flash files become converted into HTML for speed, SEO reasons and across the board usability.

Posted by: Peter Andrease

Posted on: January 18, 2011 9:47 am

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When creating a website design in Photoshop there are often occasions when you need to curve off an image or Graphic, one way to do this is to CTRL + click on the image layer to select its area, then go to Select > Modify > Smooth and enter the amount of curve you want (say around 5), press OK and then right click on the selection and choose Select Inverse and press delete, then CTRL + D to deselect.

This works fine but you might notice some pixelation of the image and if you zoom in you can see what i mean below.

So, the best way is to use Illustrator. Open Illustrator, with a blank document and drag your image / graphic onto the canvas, this will pixelate but dont worry we wont be using it there. Now select the Rounded Rectangle Tool and any fill colour but no stroke on, click once on the canvas and enter your desired Corner Radius, say around 5mm, press OK then delete, yes delete, the created graphic. Now click and drag on the canvas to match the shape to the same size as your image.

Now, drag your created graphic back into photoshop as a smart object and position it on top of your image. You can now CTRL + click on the new graphics layer to select its area, then right click on the selection and choose Select Inverse, hide the new graphics layer and then select your original image and press delete. If you just wanted one corner or two then defore pressing delete go to the Rectangular Marquee Tool, select Subtract From Selection and simply draw around the corners you dont want deleted.

Now you should notice a much smoother corner as shown below:

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